|Sammy (on the left) and his brother, Snoopy, in the early days|
A few years ago, a friend referred me to her coworker, Katie, a teacher who pet-sits on the side. Katie's amazing care of my menagerie has enabled me to enjoy all of the traveling I've done for adventure, research, and book promotion.
After my other cat, Cubby, and Ringo the Wonder Retriever were both diagnosed with terminal illnesses in the past month, I told Katie I was putting the rest of my book tour on hold. Because this past weekend's events were pre-planned and all the animals seemed stable, I told her I felt confident taking this one last weekend trip.
But Katie called me on Sunday, when I was two hours from home, to tell me Sammy had unexpectedly gone into distress. She offered to take him to the emergency vet. Based on his condition, we both knew how that would likely end--yet, if necessary, she was willing to handle this surely agonizing appointment. When she reassured me that she didn't think he was in much pain, we decided to wait until I got home so I could take him myself. (The vet later told me confidently that the lapsed time would not have made a difference in the final outcome.)
When I got home, I found Katie sitting next to Sammy on my living room floor. She had covered him with a blanket to keep him warm and comfortable. She had been sitting there, soothing him and talking to him, for two hours.
Kindness takes many forms in life. Sometimes it's a consoling comment from a Facebook acquaintance. Other times, it's a friend who goes above and beyond--as difficult as it may be in an emotionally challenging situation--because she is loving and giving and compassionate.
I am so grateful, and it has inspired me to try to be that kind of person.
Kindness and compassion may not solve all of the world's problems--but surely they are at least a major part of the equation.